The Battlefield franchise is one about the experience of armies working against each other over realistic renditions of unique battlefields to complete objectives and eventually defeat the opposing team. The franchise has many titles in its catalogue, but the most recent title is the fourth numbered Battlefield game, Battlefield 4. The game is also running on the latest in graphics engine technology, Frostbite 3.
The singleplayer campaign in Battlefield 4 is actually a pretty enjoyable experience, so long as you’re not taking it too seriously. The game revolves around a small squad of soldiers that aren’t exactly the best of the best, although they’re certainly set-up to be.
The best way to describe the single player Battlefield 4 experience is that it is essentially the story of a team of soldiers that keep on making the absolute worst decisions that they possibly can given any kind of circumstances. This is evident from even the first level where they, for some ‘intelligent’ reason, decide to jack a jeep and drive it into an enemy helicopters patrol route and while trying to get to their ship or something, decide it’s a great choice drive directly in the copters line of fire, leading them to lose control and off of a cliff into the ocean. These poor decisions carry on throughout the game, like in one instance they attempt to cut a leg completely off and don’t then burn the wound, leaving the person to bleed to death if this was real, or in another case where the best idea they have is to pack a dam with explosives and then stand directly in front of that same dam and set them off.
The best part of the Battlefiled 4 singleplayer campaign is that it is a great way for new players to the franchise to learn the ropes of the Battlefield experience. At different points during the game, players are required to use a variety of tools, similar to those found in the multiplayer, to assist in reaching the next part of an area. For example, there is one map where you have jump into a tank, traverse a small town, blow up other tanks, hit switches to take down road blocks and etc. Even more, there are levels where you kind of need to throw explosives all over a tank without it noticing you and then blowing it up remotely.
It should be noted that you can also do the levels completely wrong and still win. The first time this is noticeable is when you’re raiding this one building for some reason. You get to the top, pick up the hostages, drop them off and then run back down. What’s interesting is that once you’re outside, the game is setup so that you need to face-off against a bunch of enemies before making it to the objective. However, if you run along the right edge of the map by taking one of the side exits, you can completely bypass the entire combat section. You can take similar strategies for many areas in the game and almost completely avoid gunfights.
Our one major criticism with the Single Player campaign is that the game sets you up as this Sergeant within the squad, but frequently has you following whatever the rest of the squad says. It’s a bit strange when your team, and people above you, assume that you are in control of the game, while the game also drives you forward on rails. It’s something could easily have been avoided by changing the players rank within the team, but, still. It’s a bit odd.
Much like in Battlefield 3, Battlefield 4 continues the musical wub renditions in it’s score. Unlike most dubstep tracks, this soundtrack is subtle and non-invasive, which enhances the overall feel in some scenes in the game. Actually speaking of the soundtrack, there are a few times where a particular song is playing is playing in the background somewhere, adding to a scene in a way that having it play digestive to the user wouldn’t.
Of course, Battlefield 4 wouldn’t be a full, or proper, Battlefield game without a major and significant focus on the multiplayer aspect of the game. Battlefield games have always been known for their expansive, team based warzones and Battlefield 4 pushes this massively.
At a glance, Battlefield 4 is very similar to previous Battlefield games in the franchise when it comes to the multiplayer portions of the game. Most notable of these would be Bad Company 2 and the previous Battlefield entry, Battlefield 3. However, unlike Battlefield 3, there are a number of similarities to even Battlefield 2, such as the Commander Mode.
What’s interesting about Battlefield 4 is that it brings with it the gametypes from previous Battlefield games, such as, Team DM, Rush and Conquest and also adds a few new ones, such as Obliteration. What’s great about Battlefield 4 is that the maps included lend themselves nicely into the Battlefield 4 experience. For instance, when you’re playing Conquest, the maps are quite large, but not too large so as to be unenjoyable, whereas, if you’re playing Obliteration, the maps are a bit shorter and more enclosed, making for tighter battles as you fight for control over a bomb.
One of the biggest points that EA have been pushing with Battlefield 4 is this whole new Levolution feature where maps have the capability to change dynamically based on certain circumstances within the game. To be completely honest, this feature has been overhyped just a little as it just tends to be a static event tied into some kind of event that needs to occur for it to kick in. While watching a large-scale Levolution take place is generally entertaining, most Levolutions aren’t too game changing, nor do they bump the flow or balance in power generally. We feel that this kind of feature needs to be more dynamic and less static. Imagine if a building could collapse in a number of different ways, instead of crumbling the exact same way every time.
One of the biggest changes to the way you play the game is actually in the parts where you don’t play the game.Like, for example, the Battlelog itself has this function where if you’re joining a server, you can watch a tactical overlay kind of thing and see how the match is progressing without actually being in the match itself. There is also a function where if you own a tablet device of sometype, you can into the match as a Commander without actually running the game on a PC.
Overall Battlefield 4 is a step up from the preceeding game in the franchise. It has all of the signature traits of the Battlefield experience and a single player storyline that is quite enjoyable when you’re not taking it entirely seriously. Definitely recommend this game for both veterans and newcomers to the franchise.
Aside: At the time of writing there are significant server-side lag issues. Until these issues are fixed, we will be giving the game a reduced score.
Rating once servers are fixed: 9.5/10
Battlefield 4 comes from DICE and is published by EA. It can be found online on the Origin store for $79.99AUD. The game is out now on PC, Xbox 360 and PLaystation 3 and will be available on “Next” Gen consoles, Playstation 4 and Xbox One, once they are released.